We are committed to engaging communities and harnessing the power of the justice system to address local problems and improve public safety.
The Center for Court created the first community court in 1993. Located a short walk from New York City’s Times Square, the Midtown Community Court works with people in the neighborhood to tailor creative responses to local concerns. Since then, we have worked to bring the idea of community justice to other New York City neighborhoods (Red Hook, Harlem, Brownsville, and others), and to jurisdictions around the world that are interested in reinvigorating public trust in justice, reducing the use of incarceration and forging new responses to minor offending. We have also helped launch the Community Court Grant Program, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance.
We have also worked to spread the idea of community justice beyond courts. For example, we have worked with prosecutors to encourage them to not only prosecute cases, but to solve public safety problems, prevent crime, and improve public trust in justice. Rather than simply tallying cases won and sentences imposed, prosecutors should measure the effect of their work on quality of life, community attitudes, and crime. To support such efforts, we work with local prosecutors and national experts such as the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys and Fair and Just Prosecution.
Community Court Grant Program
The Community Court Grant Program seeks to support the creation, enhancement, and evaluation of community-focused courts across the country.
Bronx Community Solutions
Bronx Community Solutions applies a problem-solving approach to non-violent cases in the Bronx, providing judges with alternatives to jail and fines.
Brownsville Community Justice Center
The Brownsville Community Justice Center works to reduce crime and incarceration, and strengthen community trust in justice in central Brooklyn.
Harlem Community Justice Center
The Harlem Community Justice Center works to increase housing stability, engage young people in their community, and help individuals returning from prison transition home.
International Community Court Conferences
We host an international conference every two years dedicated to innovations in community justice. Our most recent event took place in Birmingham, Ala., in May 2018.
Midtown Community Court
The Midtown Community Court is one of the country's first problem-solving courts. It provides alternatives to fines and jail as a response to low-level crime.
Newark Community Solutions
Newark Community Solutions applies a problem-solving approach to low-level cases in Newark, New Jersey’s municipal courthouse.
Red Hook Community Justice Center
The nation's first multi-jurisdictional community court, the Red Hook Community Justice Center seeks to solve neighborhood problems in southwest Brooklyn.
Written by Greg Berman, director of the Center for Court Innovation, and Julian Adler, director of policy and research, Start Here from The New Press offers a road map of concrete actions to reduce the number of people sent to jail and prison, highlighting key lessons from successful programs across the country.
The Red Hook Community Justice Center has become an international model of justice reform by implementing innovative strategies that have reduced the use of jail, lowered recidivism and strengthened public confidence in justice.
This study of the Harlem Parole Reentry Court compares participants in a neighborhood-based reentry program to similar parolees on traditional parole. Results indicate that the reentry court, which implemented a validated and reliable tool for assessing the risks and needs of individuals returning from prison, produced a 22% reduction in the reconviction rate and a 60% reduction in the felony reconviction rate over an 18-month follow-up period.
Inspired by our Red Hook Community Justice Center, Ontario is preparing to implement three similar justice centers of its own with an eye on reducing recidivism and strengthening public trust in justice. We're honored to be assisting the province in its planning process.